Sometime during this week twelve months ago, the decision was made by our church leadership to cancel in-person worship for March 22 and for an indefinite period following. Following the guidance of health officials, it was the best decision to make for the health of our congregation. I remember that week well. We were all afraid. Shortages of supplies loomed around the corner. We began to work from home. School classes were cancelled. It started a time of uncertainty for our nation that we have not experienced in
generations. At that time hospitalizations and deaths remained in single or double digits, there was a sense that worse times were ahead.
Here at Trinity, hurried plans were implemented to livestream the 11am worship services on Facebook and the church’s website. Kyle Kelly, Paula Stover, and Gray Maklary learned what needed to happen and worked toward a solution. We were unsure if all the interfaces would work correctly. Meanwhile, Geoff Roberts and Susan Ward (and when he was not working, Ed Snyder) worked the cameras for the YouTube video recording and the sound system for the live radio broadcast. The choir went from a loft full to a mere handful.
With less than a week’s turn around, could the choir redeploy in a way that was consistent with their high standard while not being able to meet to rehearse the Wednesday before? We would worship with less than 15 people in the sanctuary, with the potential for hundreds more through the radio broadcast and the livestream. To a community hungry for hope, would Trinity be able to meet the need?
By the grace of God, your lay leadership and the church’s music ministry responded so well. That first service on Facebook on March 22 was the first of many. We have opened a door to reaching people we never thought possible. The choir, under the direction of Charles Haraway, adapted and thrived. The quality of their music has remained high; their work has been integral to our remote worship that has inspired so many. Over the course of the year, Worth Lewallen’s violin moved us. Trinity has nurtured Wesley Castleberry and Samara Castleberry throughout their lives; since last March, their musical giftedness they have nurtured us.
Those early days of the pandemic were difficult for all. Yet, we claim the movement of the Holy Spirit at Trinity UMC that strengthened our worship team in those weeks. We could not have made it without God’s blessings and your prayers. A year later, we are still working through the pandemic’s effects on our world. We continue to pray and work for healing and offering hope wherever we can.